The 5 principles of game play in primary school PE

There are 5 key principles of gameplay when it comes to attacking and defending in games.  Some games such as football take this further with 5 principles each of both attacking and defending.

By familiarising ourselves with the 5 basic principles of gameplay in PE we can teach with a deeper understanding and support pupils to develop strategies and tactics in their gameplay.   They can also help us make sense of some of the skills/tactics suggest in planning resources.

  1. Width in attack

Placement of players across the width of the pitch, this forces the opposition’s defenders to space out and leave gaps/space to attack in to.

  1. Width in defence

Defensive players spread across the width of the pitch in an attempt to cover all areas when the attacking players have possession

  1. Depth in attack

When a player attacks, place another team member behind them, this means that when an attack at goal or shot is not possible the attacker with the ball can pass back to their teammate which will potentially open up a new scoring opportunity.

  1. Delay in defence

As a defender, you want to attempt to slow down your oppositions attack (delay) and this can be done by positioning yourself in front of the attacker (between them and the goal!). This slows down the attacker and buys time for the rest of the defence to get back and support.

  1. Depth in defence

As in the attacking situation, a fellow defender provides support by positioning themselves behind the first defender; this provides support if the first defender is beaten.

If you are currently teaching invasion games, have a look at your planning and see where these principles apply.  Can they help you develop your questioning, or supporting a task in which pupils need to attack or defend?

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